Moontangled (The Harwood Spellbook #2.5) by Stephanie Burgis

MoontangledMoontangled is a delightful spin off story that primarily focuses on a couple of characters introduced during Thornbound, the second of the Harwood Spellbook series.

We first met Juliana Banks and Caroline Fennell during the fae shenanigans that took place in Thornbound which threatened to upturn all of Cassandra Harwood’s hard work and plans to open a magical school for young women.  The two of them made for interesting reading and so I was really happy that the author took the decision to create a story that revolved purely around the two and their secret engagement.

I’m not going to elaborate greatly on the plot as this is a fairly short story that centres around the romance between the two and highlights how easy it is to misread motives and jump to wrong conclusions all in an attempt to do the right thing.

The setting for this world is an alternative England – known as Angland where magic and fae exist and conventions have been turned on their head a little.  Here, women rule the world of politics and men rule the world of magic – although these long held roles are starting to become more fluid with women finding they can also wield magic – what next?  I suppose men will be wanting to become politicians!  In the previous instalment our central character, Cassandra (herself a rather brilliant wielder of magic until an unfortunate episode left her unable to practice) has shaken up the stiff-upper-lipped nobility with her decision to run a magical school for women – it’s not an entirely popular decision with the upper crust of society being set vehemently against such change but as the young women who can wield magic start to increase in numbers it becomes impossible to ignore the demand for such a school.  Cassandra had her work cut out trying to convince the right people to give her school the stamp of approval and it was during this process that our two characters met and also when we felt the influence of the fae that inhabit the nearby wood.

I don’t typically read romance (or short stories) but this is a series that I will make an exception for because the stories all involve magical and fantastical elements combined with a period feel and a lightheartedness that makes them a joy to read.  Plus, I love stories that involve the fae, they’re my catnip and I simply can’t resist.

Burgis has a lovely writing style and manages to infuse her stories with the sort of well developed characters and strong relationships that I love and even though this is a fairly short story the author manages to help both characters achieve that development in themselves that is really positive to read about.

In terms of criticisms – the only thing I have is a feeling of this being over too quickly and wanting more.

A sweet and charming regency style series that has flavours of The Importance of Being Ernest (in terms of problems with misunderstandings) and Pride and Prejudice (lots of young ladies, excitement over the next ball and folderol about dresses) – but with fantasy and the fae thrown in for good measure.

I would suggest reading the previous books before reading this – because they’re very worthy reads – but, I think you could probably read this as a standalone if you wanted to get a flavour for the place and the writing (although I am of course saying that whilst having the benefit of having read the previous instalments – so I’m not entirely sure I’m the best judge – just read the other books is my advice :D)

I received a copy courtesy of the author.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars




11 Responses to “Moontangled (The Harwood Spellbook #2.5) by Stephanie Burgis”

  1. Tammy

    I love this series, it’s such a nice change of pace from some of the more serious, grim fiction I read:-)

    • @lynnsbooks

      Exactly, and you know that the endings are not going to be grim – well, that’s the vibe I always get which just feels relaxing somehow.
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I wanted more too, and I hope there WILL be more soon… One of the elements that made this short story different was the shifted focus from Cassandra, who here is seen through the eyes of her students: I like the different perspective quite a bit.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I liked that aspect too. I love getting the pov of other characters and how they view the protagonists we’ve been reading about previously.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    It’s like everyone is reading this series but me! I know I’m missing out big time, but I do hope to check it out one of these days!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, you can’t read all the series at the end of the day although you do give it your best shot 😀

  4. Rebecca

    This sounds really interesting! And that cover is really lovely, plus fae and magic!!!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s a lovely series, very easy to read with fun elements and sweet characters.
      Lynn 😀

  5. waytoofantasy

    Glad you liked this one, Lynn! I’m really loving this series, I think what Burgis does with flipping tropes is wonderful.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is – it really is. And I like that she manages to insert contemporary thoughts and feelings into a period piece whilst still making it feel like a period piece.
      Lynn 😀

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